Shingles: Symptoms And Effects Of Virus
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The same virus that leads to chickenpox, the varicella-zoster virus, causes shingles. Those who have had chickenpox can develop shingles. While recovering from chickenpox, the virus enters your nervous system and remains there, dormant, for years.
Is Shingles Prevention Possible Is There A Shingles Vaccine
Prevention of shingles in people who have contracted chickenpox is difficult, since the factors that trigger reactivation are not yet defined. However, if a person is never infected with the virus, shingles will not develop. Furthermore, there are at least two methods that are currently used to reduce the incidence of shingles.
First, the VZV vaccine, otherwise known as the chickenpox vaccine, may decrease the incidence of shingles by enhancing the immune systems ability to fight off VZV or keep this virus inactive. This vaccine is usually administered to children, but the immunity may decline in about 15-20 years. The single-dose vaccine dose is given to babies 12-18 months of age. Most vaccine side effects, if they occur, are mild and range from a rash, skin redness, and swelling to small chickenpox lesions, usually at the injection site. Boosters of this vaccine for use in adults are now being investigated and may help prevent shingles in the future.
Shingrix is the vaccine the CDC currently recommends as the preferred shingles vaccine. Two doses about 2-6 months apart are more than 90% effective in preventing shingles and PHN, and it is recommended for use in people 50 and over. Side effects of Shingrix may occur and last about 2-3 days and may include redness and swelling at the inoculation site. Some individuals may experience muscle pain, headache, shivering, fever, stomach pain, and nausea.
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Can You Get Shingles From The Covid
There have been a few reports of shingles happening in people who were vaccinated against COVID-19. The varicella-zoster virus was reactivated in these people.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
If youve had chickenpox, youre at risk of developing shingles later in life. Shingles causes a rash that is contagious and painful. The disease can have serious complications. The best thing you can do to reduce your risk is to get the shingles vaccine. The vaccines are safe and effective.
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If You Get The Shingles Vaccine Does This Mean Youre 100% Protected From Getting Shingles
No. Just like most vaccines, getting vaccinated with a shingles vaccine doesnt provide 100% protection from disease. However, getting the shingles vaccine reduces your risk of developing shingles.
Even if you do develop shingles, youll be more likely to have a mild case. Also, youll be much less likely to develop postherpetic neuralgia, a painful condition that can follow a shingles outbreak.
Who Should Not Be Vaccinated With Shingrix
You shouldnt receive the Shingrix vaccine if you:
- Have ever had a severe allergy to this vaccine or any ingredient in this vaccine.
- Are breastfeeding or pregnant.
- Currently have shingles.
- Are ill and have a high fever.
- Have tested negative for immunity to varicella-zoster virus .
Ask your healthcare provider if the benefits of getting the vaccine outweigh any potential risks.
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Who Is At Risk From Shingles
Anyone who has had chickenpox is at risk of getting shingles later in life. About one in three people who have not been immunised against chickenpox or shingles will get shingles in their lifetime.
Shingles usually affects older people. The older you are if you get shingles, the higher your risk of getting serious disease. People who have a weakened immune system are also at risk of getting more severe disease, even if they are young.
Can You Get Shingles If You Havent Had Chickenpox
No. You cant get shingles if youve never had chickenpox, but you can get chickenpox from someone who has shingles. If youve never had chickenpox and you come into direct contact with the oozing, blister-like rash of someone with shingles, the varicella-zoster virus can infect you and you would develop chickenpox.
Once youve had chickenpox, you could develop shingles at some point in your life. This is because the varicella-zoster virus never fully goes away after youve had chickenpox. It lies quietly inactive in your nerve tissue. Later in life, the virus may become active again and appears as shingles.
Can you get chickenpox more than once?
Its rare to get chickenpox twice in your life. Once youve had chickenpox, youre usually immune to it for the rest of your life. However, its not totally impossible. If you have a severely weakened immune system , you can get chickenpox a second time. If youve had chickenpox, you are more likely to get shingles at some point in your life than a repeat bout of chickenpox.
How Is Shingles Diagnosed And Treated
If you think you might have shingles, talk to your doctor as soon as possible. Its important to see your doctor no later than three days after the rash starts. The doctor will confirm whether you have shingles and can make a treatment plan. Most cases can be diagnosed from a visual examination. If you have a condition that weakens the immune system, your doctor may order a shingles test. Although there is no cure for shingles, early treatment with antiviral medications can help the blisters clear up faster and limit severe pain. Shingles can often be treated at home.
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What Can I Do If I Have An Attack Of Shingles
Shingles can be a painful and very uncomfortable condition, but there are a number of things you can do to make yourself more comfortable. These include:
- Taking paracetamol for the pain
- Applying a cold compress to affected areas
- Keeping the rash clean and dry to reduce infection
- Avoiding antibiotic cream.
If you think you are experiencing symptoms of shingles, the best thing to do is to go and see your doctor. It is important to get shingles diagnosed as soon as possible, as early treatment with antiviral medicine can help lessen an attack, but this needs to be taken within the first few days of any visible symptoms.
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What Triggers A Shingles Outbreak And Who Is Most At Risk
According to Dr. Gurland, we just dont know why outbreaks happen some researchers have linked shingles with periods of excess stress, but most people who get stressed dont get shingles.
However, shingles is more common in patients whose immune systems arent functioning normally due to cancer, medications, other infections, and other health conditions. While you dont need an immune deficiency to get shingles, said Dr. Gurland, a significant minority of patients who have it also have a suppressed immune system. The risk also increases with age , although Dr. Gurland has seen very young patients develop the disease as it doesnt discriminate.
Is It An Allergic Reaction Or The Shingles Rash
A skin allergy can cause a rash that looks similar to the shingles rash. Red sores resulting from an allergic reaction to medication will be irregular in shape and either flat or raised. This kind of rash may also be caused by exposure to a skin allergen like poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac, in which red, itchy rashes may include bumps and seeping blisters, much like the shingles virus. Rashes caused by allergic reactions tend to clear up on their own, often within three weeks after exposure.
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What Does A Mild Case Of Shingles Look Like
Not everyone with shingles will develop a blistering rash. A mild case of shingles may include a red rash without blisters. The shingles rash and blisters are distinct characteristics of the illness. Mild cases of shingles do not usually cause headaches, fever, or fatigue.
Whether mild or severe, pain is the most common symptom of shingles. Most people describe a deep burning, throbbing, or stabbing sensation. The pain usually subsides within 30 days.
What To Think About
For some people, non-prescription pain relievers are enough to help control pain caused by shingles or post-herpetic neuralgia. But for others, stronger medicines may be needed. And if prescription medicines donât help control your pain, you may need to see a pain specialist about other ways to treat PHN.
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Symptoms Of Zoster Sine Herpete
Zoster sine herpete is not common and can be hard to diagnose as the most common and differentiating shingles rash is not present. Other symptoms of ZSH are similar to regular shingles, which include:
Shingles is a very painful disease. This pain is typically described as a deep boring or stabbing sensation that is very severe. Because of the impact on the nervous system this pain may have an electric feel to it. In many cases pain will only affect one side of the body and will be localized to a specific area of the skin, though the disease can affect as many as three spinal nerves at a time. As the disease affects the skin, patients may experience a prickling, itching, or numbness on the skin as well.
Patients will often develop flu-like symptoms just before the skin lesions appear. This can include body or muscle aches, headaches, mild fever, a general feeling of illness or poor appetite. These symptoms can last as long as 7-10 days. It is important to note that unlike a cold, patients will not develop a runny nose or cough when suffering from shingles.
- Pain radiating from your spine
- Sensitive to touch
Zoster Sine Herpete : Shingles Without The Rash
It is possible for a person to develop shingles without being affected by the rash, although this is rare. When shingles occurs without the rash being present, this is called zoster sine herpete .
When shingles occurs without a rash, the first symptoms of the condition may involve:
- A feeling of numbness in a certain area
- An itchy, burning sensation
- Generalized aches
- Hypersensitivity to touch
When shingles is present, even without the rash, sensations will be concentrated in a specific area of the body â commonly the face, neck, one side of the torso or the eyes. However, in the absence of the shingles rash, zoster sine herpete may still rarely lead to neurological and visceral diseases, such as inflammation of the brain , Varizella pneumonia, paralysis of the facial nerves and problems related to keeping oneâs balance or problems with hearing.
Because shingles shares characteristics with many other conditions, including herpes simplex, impetigo, dermatitis herpetiformis and contact dermatitis, it can easily be confused with these conditions. In cases where a rash is not present, a laboratory test will usually be necessary to establish the presence of the varicella zoster virus in the body.
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Hows Shingles Without A Rash Diagnosed
Shingles without a rash isnt common, but it may be more common than previously thought because it often goes undiagnosed. Shingles without a rash is difficult to diagnose based on your symptoms alone.
Your doctor may test your blood, cerebrospinal fluid, or saliva to identify the presence of VZV antibodies. This will allow them to confirm a diagnosis of shingles without a rash. However, these tests are often inconclusive.
Your medical history may provide clues that suggest you have shingles without a rash. Your doctor may ask if youve had a recent operation or if youre under increased stress.
Once your doctor suspects you have VZV, theyll use antiviral medicines such as acyclovir to treat the shingles. They may also prescribe drugs for the pain.
Other treatment will vary based on the location and severity of symptoms.
Shingles Symptoms: The Rash
The rash associated with herpes zoster begins as small blisters in a reddish background. New blisters form for the next few days, usually 3 to 5 days. Blisters emerge in a path of individual nerves in a specific ray-like distribution called a dermatomal pattern. Blisters tend to break out in a band-like pattern over an area of skin.
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If I Get The Shingles Vaccine Does This Mean Im 100% Protected From Getting Shingles
No, just like most vaccines, getting vaccinated doesnt provide 100% protection from disease. However, getting the shingles vaccine reduces your risk of developing shingles. Even if you do develop shingles, youll be more likely to have a mild case. Also, youll be much less likely to develop postherpetic neuralgia, the painful condition that can follow a shingles outbreak.
Foods To Avoid When Suffering From Shingles
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Shingles is no fun at all for adults its caused by the same virus that causes chicken pox, which can become dormant for years and reappear as this painful nerve condition. Those with shingles develop a very painful and itchy rash that can last for weeks or months.
There are some treatments available for shingles, and even vaccines to help prevent it, but one thing you can do to alleviate some of the symptoms is to change your diet. The best way to help relieve shingles and help speed up the recovery process is to avoid these 6 foods
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Who Gets Herpes Zoster
Anyone who has had varicella may subsequently develop herpes zoster. Zoster can occur in childhood but is much more common in adults, especially older people. People with various kinds of cancer have a 40% increased risk of developing zoster. People who have had zoster rarely get it again the chance of getting a second episode is about 1%.
Herpes zoster often affects people with weak immunity.
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Will Shingles Go Away On Its Own
Shingles isnt life-threatening, but it can be incredibly painful and, in some cases, complications can arise. While this rash typically goes away its own, prompt treatment can reduce your pain and help shingles go away faster.
Several antivirals can be used to treat shingles. These drugs can help you heal more quickly and reduce your pain, but they are most effective when started within 72 hours of your rash appearing. This means its important to see your doctor as soon as you suspect shingles, says Dr. Brown. When it comes to the pain associated with shingles, most people are able to manage it using over-the-counter pain relievers. But, pain can be severe for some people. In these cases, your doctor can prescribe stronger pain medications.
Beyond treating your immediate pain and rash, seeing your doctor is also important since serious complications can occur as a result of shingles, such as:
- Postherpetic neuralgia pain that lasts for months to years after the rash clears, with this pain being debilitating in some cases
- Skin infection occurs if the open sores of your rash become infected with bacteria, which can require antibiotics and delay healing
- Vision problems while rare, if your rash develops near your eye, the associated inflammation can damage your retina and, in some cases, result in vision loss
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Remarkable Cases Of Vzv Infection Without Rash
Two remarkable cases of VZV infection without rash deserve mention. The first and most extreme example of VZV infection of the nervous system that we encountered was a 77-year-old man with T cell lymphoma and no history of zoster rash who developed meningoradiculitis of the cranial nerve roots and cauda equina he died 3 weeks after the onset of neurologic disease, confirmed pathologically and virologically to have been caused by VZV . Autopsy revealed hemorrhagic inflammatory lesions with Cowdry A inclusions in the meninges and nerve roots, extending from cranial nerve roots to the cauda equina. The same lesions were present in the brain, although to a lesser extent. VZV antigen and nucleic acid, but not herpes zoster virus or cytomegalovirus antigen or nucleic acid, were found in the infected tissue at all levels of the neuraxis. Thus, VZV should be included in the differential diagnosis of acute encephalomyelor-adiculopathy, particularly since antiviral treatment is available.
Ringworm Causes An Itchy Red Circular Rash
Ringworm is a skin infection that, despite its name, is caused by a fungus, whereas the shingles rash is caused by a virus, according to the CDC. Ringworm can cause a red, itchy, circular rash on your skin. It may also cause scaly, cracked skin and hair loss. The rash can appear on any part of your body, and it spreads easily through skin-to-skin contact or contact with an item contaminated with the fungus, like dirty clothes or a shower floor. Some forms of ringworm can be treated with over-the-counter medication, while others must be treated with prescription antifungal medication.
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Shingles Complications: Postherpetic Neuralgia
Postherpetic neuralgia is the most common complication of shingles. This is defined as persistence of the nerve pain associated with shingles beyond one month, even after the rash is gone. It occurs from irritation of the sensory nerves by the virus. The pain of PHN can be severe and debilitating. Up to 15% of people with shingles develop PHN. Typically, this occurs in people over 50 years of age. Treatment of shingles with antiviral drugs can reduce the duration and occurrence of postherpetic neuralgia.